Thursday, September 29, 2011

Disability Advocates File Lawsuit Against State

I've been waiting to see who would take the first step to challenge our states actions which are dismantling our critical entitlement system.  Thank you UCP San Diego for stepping up!  I know there are always two sides to every story, please comment on this post so we can all benefit from different perspectives. 

Here's the story and the link.................

Disability advocates file lawsuit against state
Advocates for Californians with developmental disabilities, led by UCP San Diego (United Cerebral Palsy) and the Arc California, filed a lawsuit against California Wednesday alleging it is violating federal and state law by failing to adequately fund services needed by individuals with developmental disabilities.
The suit, filed in Sacramento against the California Department of Developmental Services and the Department of Health Care Services, contends that the state’s failure to fund programs has hurt community service providers, whose reimbursement rates have been frozen since 2003. Many community providers have been forced to limit services or close.
In San Diego, a UCP adult day care center in the College Area was forced to close last year for lack of state funding, said Dave Carucci, executive director of UCP San Diego.
“With limited funding, we’re not able to provide the quality of staff and service we need to provide,” he said. “We understand it’s a tough time in California, but we’re saying enough is enough.”
The lawsuit accuses the state of violating the Federal Home and Community Based Service Providers (HCBS) waiver program by reducing rates and reimbursements without federal approval and without considering federally required safeguards.
The suit also contends that the state violated California’s Lanterman Act, which guarantees individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities the right to obtain the support services necessary to live as independently as possible in their own communities.
The California Department of Developmental Services issued a statement responding to the lawsuit.
“Given the size of the budget shortfall, difficult decisions are needed,” it said. “However, consumer health and safety remains our highest priority. California is the only state in the nation with an entitlement to services for persons with developmental disabilities. Beyond that, we do not comment on pending litigation.”
The suit does not seek monetary damages, but asks for an injunction to stop the state from freezing and reducing funding of programs for the 245,000 Californians with developmental disabilities.
“It’s not right, fair or legal and must be stopped,” Carucci, said. “The state’s neglect has left Californians with developmental disabilities at great risk. Their health and safety is in jeopardy.”

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